Our sweet rescue dog, Frankie, came to live with us in October of 2001. At the time, he had been abandon on the streets of Chicago, picked up by animal control and placed in a doggie rescue shelter. He had a host of ailments, including an ulcerated eye and chemical burns on his belly due to the chemicals used to clean the cages at animal control. WhenÂ Chad and I were looking for a dog we wanted a mature dog, preferably house-broken, who would cuddle up on our laps when we’d watch movies or go on walks in the park.
The doggie rescue shelter hosted a showing of the dogs at a local PetSmart. We looked at several dogs that day and were about to leave when the owner of the rescue pointed out Frankie–a sad little (actually very large for his breed) pup shivering at the back of his cage. At first glance he didn’t have the character I was expecting in a dog for us. He was big and kind of weepy from his eye problems. His coat needed grooming and was flaky from the chemical burns. We took him out of the cage and walked around with him. It was so interested in his surroundings and was sniffing everything in the store–paying very little attention to who was on the other end of the leash. After a few minutes I scooped him up and sat on the floor to get a closer look. Poor Frankie was so exhausted that he fell asleep in my arms almost instantly and started to snore. From that moment on we were hooked. Frankie “chose” us, as the rescue owner had put it.
Frankie was our first baby. He was a terrific, laid back dog–rarely barking and never biting. He loved anyone who would take the opportunity to give him a scratch behind the ears and he loved to have his hips rub–he’d do this funny little “butt scratch” dance when you found the right spot. His big puppy-dog eyes would melt your heart and we was so cuddly and fuzzy that we called him our “love sponge” because he would just soak you in.
Frankie, however, has more than his share of ailments. Everything from ruptured disks in his neck to Thrombocytopenia–this dog has had more lives than a cat. He was hardly house-broken and would often pee (or worse) in the kitchen or other parts of the house. The surgeries, medicines and vet visits have costs us thousands of dollars over the years we had Frankie, but given our resources it seemed hard, almost cruel, to ever deny him the medical treatment that he needed. Besides, only once did we truly take “heroic” measures to save him–and at the time we didn’t blink. He was our baby. I would do it again.
This past year Frankie entered the “geriatric” stage in his life.Â It was sad to see Frankie’s rapid descent in our lives. He seemed okay with the babies, but you could sense his depression. Â His health seemed to take a turn for the worse this past winter, starting with a skin infection that has spread to all parts of his body, including his sensitive eyes.Â His liver was failing him and his body just wasn’t keeping up. Â When the girls where about eight months old, Tessa reached out to touch Frankie and he snapped at her.Â We were all there when it happened and we knew instantly that we couldn’t manage two babies with an unstable dog.Â We found a wonderful new home for Frankie with our loving vet’s parents who have cared for Frankie for the past few months.Â This week we got a call from our vet that Frank’s quality of life has taken a turn for the worse.Â He skin condition has returned and his liver is failing.Â It is time.Â So, yesterday we said good-bye to Frankie one last time.Â It was not easy but it was time.
Frankie was our first baby. For years he gave us unconditional love–I think in gratitude for rescuing him from his old life. We gave Frank a good life and in return he has given us many moments of love and joy and laughter.
Frankie, we pray that your “trip to the rainbow bridge” is a peaceful one where you can run aroundÂ and eat all the snausages your heart desires.Â Say “hi” to Mookie for us.